Project Safeside
1041st USAF
 Security Strike Force Test Squadron

The 1041st USAF Security Strike Force Test Squadron was comprised of Security Police hand picked from all AF units. This was a test program to determine if the Air Force was capable of defending its own installations in a hostile environment. The test included regular Security Police with heavy weapons and 13 scout dogs. The dogs were trained by Army personnel at Medina AB, outside Lackland. They were the only scout dogs ever trained for Air Force use. Medina was used because it was the site of a cold war nuclear storage area and allowed the program to be conducted in secrecy. Later this area would be called Medina Annex and would be the home of the USAF dog school known as Military Working Dog Studies Branch, Security Police Academy.  

The dog teams walked point on patrols, set up outposts, and accompanied ambush teams. Like the Army & USMC scout dogs, their sole mission was to detect enemy forces. The dog's were not aggressive. After graduation the dog handlers went to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and joined the rest of the unit; the 1041st. Operation Safeside training was completed, the AF equivalent of Ranger school. All instructor personnel had completed the Army's Ranger school at Ft. Benning, Georgia . This intense training was followed with deployment to the future site of Phu Cat AB Air Base. The unit provided complete security for the base supported by US Army and Republic of Korean artillery units.

In July 1966, Security Police from Phan Rang AB (with Sentry Dog teams) arrived to assist in providing security for the new base under construction at Phu Cat AB (located near the coast of II Corps area). The base consisted of 9.3 square miles of jungle and rice paddies. 

The advanced party for the Safeside unit arrived on December 17, 1966 with their 12 scout dog teams (with one spare dog) to start the takeover. There were approximately 280-300 members in the organization. The Army units that had cleared the area departed, leaving a ROK (Republic of Korea) Artillery unit.   The advance party immediately started aggressive patrols. These ambush patrols at night led to several contacts with the VC forces. These combat actions resulted in the deaths of the VC Commissioner of An Nhon Province and the Chief of the VC Assault Force.

At the end of the test the scout dogs were shipped back to the states with their handlers. The final "After Action" (Dated Dec 4, 1967) report on the Safe Side Program urged that the decision to deploy sentry dogs in Vietnam be reconsidered. The author urged that scout dogs be trained that would attack only on command. This would allow the dog teams to work effectively in closer proximity to friendly forces than allowed with sentry dogs.

In September 1968 the first patrol dog class graduated from the dog school at Lackland AFB, Texas. These dogs could scout, tolerate friendly forces, and would attack only on command unless the handler was threatened. Until this time, patrol dogs had only been assigned to bases that stored nuclear weapons. Now small bases with only a law enforcement function could utilize military working dogs.   

In late 1969, one sentry dog (at Phu Cat) was retrained as a patrol dog at the PACAF Military Working Dog Training Center, Kadena AB, Japan. This dog (Selig #7A96) was used with SP ambush patrols, performing the same mission as the Scout dogs had earlier. As tolerate as Selig was on patrol, elsewhere he was known as a extremely aggressive dog.  

" The Combat Security Police program received official approval from the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force on 1 July 1968. Prior to that date, due to a urgent request from Headquarters 7th Air Force for more Combat Security Units in the Vietnam theatre, the unit was re-designated the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing and on 8 March 1968 was sent TDY to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii to establish a training site for two CSP units on an immediate basis. The 821st Combat Security Police Squadron was formed and received an accelerated training course and then deployed to Vietnam. A second unit, the 822nd Combat Police Squadron was also formed, trained and deployed from the Schofield site.

Upon completion of the training of the 822nd CSPS, the 82nd Combat Security Police Wing and the USAF Combat Security Police School were transferred to the permanent location at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The 821st CSPS was deployed to Phan Rang AB, RVN on 13 April 1968 and relieved a Battalion of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and took over their Base Camp. In August 1968 the 821st was relieved by the 822nd CSPS. In February 1969 the 822nd was relieved by the 823rd CSPS. In August 1969 the 821st returned to Phan Rang AB and relieved the 823rd. The 821st was deactivated from Vietnam in February 1971."


Above three paragraphs taken from http://safesideassociation.org/

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